When Warner Bros. premiered Don’t Worry Darling at the Venice Film Festival last year, the studio must have It is hoped that reports of production problems and on-set disputes about Olivia Wilde’s new film will be replaced by gorgeous footage of the film’s A-listers Florence Pugh and Harry Styles swaggering down the red carpet at the Lido replaced.
Instead, they got #Spitgate.
A short clip from the gallery at the premiere of Don’t Worry, if you squint it seems to be Showing Styles spitting on co-star Chris Pine before he sat next to him became the topic everyone wanted to talk about. The video has been viewed millions of times online and got the Zapruder treatment. Instead of discussing Wilde’s stylish feminist thriller, Pugh’s performance, or the shocking final-reel twist, the discussion focused on whether Harry had snapped at Chris, which Pine vehemently denied.
“The buzz isn’t about the film, it’s about the spitting,” said Tom Grievson, head of marketing and distribution for HanWay Films and a regular at the festival . “It was a disaster. No distributor, no sales agent would want that kind of attention.”
That’s what the studios, producers and publicists are doing for
Preparing for Berlin Film Festival Scary: Be the next #Spitgate — After months of careful planning, your entire marketing strategy could be overwhelmed by Scrambled – 2nd video shot by some lookie-loo at the premiere .
“Now it’s easy for anyone to just take a moment and cut someone’s face when they get out of a car or react to something, in a wrong or malicious way, and suddenly In no time you’re screwed,” said Charles McDonald, a veteran British public relations man. “I tell talent: every interview, every press conference, every time you get out of your car or walk down the street, it’s a potential meme moment.”
That’s not always a bad thing. McDonald pointed to the (frontal) online explosion following the Venice race-winningBones and All red carpet moment, when star Timothée Chalamet ) became a Twitter sensation with his debut outfit: a bright red halter-high-necked pantsuit with kitten heel boots.
“This is Timothée,” said MacDonald, who did the international film promotion. “Of course, this is a huge bonus for us.”
Another Venice viral video moment – Brendan Fraser torn after the world premiere of The Whale – by Distributor A02 Lots of free publicity. The image of an emotional star also fits well with A Key directed the melodrama as Fraser’s comeback film.
But those positive examples are rare. Much more common are WTF memes that disrupt or derail. Think of Shia LaBeouf wearing a paper bag over her head with 2021 scrawled “I no longer Famous for “the Berlinale premiere of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac or von Trier’s satire at the Cannes press conference in Melancholia” I sympathize with Adolf Hitler” three years ago. In fact, think of any festive moment involving LaBeouf or Von Trier.
“We media cultivate our talents, but we They’re discouraged from doing something that’s ‘cool’ to social media,” Grievson noted, “because it can easily backfire. Even if something does create a buzz around the movie, the movie is in danger of being overexposed too soon. When it’s released By the time the dealer releases it, people are tired of hearing about it.”
This story first appeared in the Feb. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Click here to subscribe.